Forum skills growers on reducing grain harvest losses

Central Highlands growers gain expert advice on how to reduce grain losses at harvest time

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Well-known agronomist Paul McIntosh pictured with farmer Dave Daniels, Daniels Farming Co, Tarvellon, Kilcummin and Nutrien's Grattan Chambers, Clermont.

Well-known agronomist Paul McIntosh pictured with farmer Dave Daniels, Daniels Farming Co, Tarvellon, Kilcummin and Nutrien's Grattan Chambers, Clermont.

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Growers on the central highlands attended a harvest forum in Clermont early this month, all looking to gain better knowledge of running their harvesters effectively and efficiently.

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Grain growers in the central highlands were awarded the opportunity to gain expert advice and exchange their own harvesting hacks at a harvester discussion forum held at Kilcummin north of Clermont early this month.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation hosted a free half-day forum to help growers reduce harvest losses, improve harvest weed seed control, improve sample and data quality, and prevent harvest fires.

More than 20 farmers across the central highlands attended the event, all looking to gain better knowledge of running their harvesters effectively and efficiently.

Six key speakers zoomed into the event, including Peter Broley and Warwick Findlay of Primary Sales, Ben White of Kondinin, Brett Asphar of Seed Terminator, Marney Strachan of Redekop and Michael Walsh, the director of Weed Research at Sydney University.

The forum held discussions with industry experts and local growers on the integration of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) options, harvester fire prevention and accurate measurement of harvest losses.

The forum held discussions with industry experts and local growers on the integration of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) options, harvester fire prevention and accurate measurement of harvest losses.

Hosting the forum in Clermont was Farmlink, with WeedSmarts northern extension agronomist, Paul McIntosh lending his extensive grain knowledge at the event in an MC role.

Mr McIntosh said these forums were all about interactive discussions on minimising harvest losses, harvest weed seed controls and fire suppression in harvesters.

"This forum was all about optimising farmers' and land managers' management practices and harvesting equipment with plenty of farmer-to-farmer side discussions," Mr McIntosh said.

"With good powerpoint presentations and excellent discussion by both these farmer groups, the information exchange by all concerned was well received and well generated."

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Mr McIntosh said a highlight of the forum was the Bushel Plus Drop Tray system, which is a method of measuring preventable grain loss out of the harvester.

"The simplicity of attaching by magnets to the rear axle of the harvester, a heavy metal collection tray 100cm long by 21cm wide and then by electronically releasing the tray onto the ground, to catch all the trash material out of the rear of the header when in operation," he said.

Grains Research and Development Corporation data has found that as much as $75 a hectare can be lost in canola crops and $52/ha in chickpeas due to the grain not making it into the box at harvest time.

Grains Research and Development Corporation data has found that as much as $75 a hectare can be lost in canola crops and $52/ha in chickpeas due to the grain not making it into the box at harvest time.

"Then carefully remove and discard the heavy trash parts from the tray and empty remaining contents into an air-powered separator.

"A small electronic weight scale then converts the grain collected into kilograms per hectare loss.

Mr McIntosh said it was up to the grower to make individual small changes in their harvester set-up.

"This will reduce these mind-boggling amounts of money being left in the paddock as mouse feed for future scavengers, that provide a green bridge for disease or insects over your summer or winter fallow period."

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